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How Electronics Are Recycled in the US

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Electronic Parts being recycled
Daliah Okoro
Daliah Okoro
April 3, 2020

While conservation is on everyone's mind, electronic waste is one of the plagues of the earth. The inherent challenges with US electronics recycling have been magnified in the past few years. Several electronic items surpass every other kind of waste, due to its popularity and its inability to decompose. For example, hard drives and computer parts are made from durable materials.

While you can use a company that provides IT asset disposition (ITAD) services to take care of this problem, there are many other costs associated with recycling electronics today. If you're not sure what is ITAD, you can check it out here.

Here are some other facts to consider about e-waste before throwing away your old computer or phone:

  1. The average American household owns 24 electronic products
  2. If 1 million laptop computers were recycled, it would save enough energy to light up and run 3,500 homes in the US per year
  3. About 40% of all e-waste in the US, Canada, and Europe is sent to Asia, which has caused several controversies
  4. By the end of 2020, the total amount of e-waste worldwide is estimated to exceed 50 million tons
Recycling cellphones concept

One of the most significant benefits of recycling e-waste is all of the materials that can be collected from them. For example, if 1 million cell phones were recycled, we would recover 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, 33 pounds of palladium, and 35,000 pounds of copper.


Did you know that America spent $71 billion on telephone and other communication equipment in 2019? All businesses have to think about how they recycle their waste, as they produce the most electronic waste of all.

So, what can you do with electronics you no longer need? First of all, don't put them in the trash! Here are the easiest ways to dispose of unwanted e-waste:

  1. Donate to an electronic device or equipment company
  2. Pass them on to another business
  3. Drop-off at a Staples or Best Buy store
  4. Donate to or start a cell phone recycling fundraiser at your school
  5. Drop-off at a weekend e-waste recycling event in your local area


Donate old electronics to elders and kids.

While there is a ton of e-waste out there, it's easy to find a place to donate your old electronics. If you find that you are throwing away large quantities of electronics per year, you should consider starting an e-waste drive to collect and bring these electronics to places that can reuse and recycle these resources.

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